Celebration Pointe was lined with booths and vendors on Saturday as part of a Back to School Bash co-sponsored by Fun 4 Gator Kids, an organization that posts lists of local children’s activities, and the shopping center. The event was created to give children an afternoon of fun activities and a chance to interact with local businesses before Alachua County Schools begin classes on Aug. 12. The event featured fencing and archery demonstrations, charity drives, food and refreshments from vendors and a bounce house.
The plaza in front of the Hippodrome Theatre was transformed into a block party Saturday evening when the City of Gainesville hosted the Summer in the City Downtown Dance Party. Over 650 people of all ages attended the event, which had music from a DJ, food trucks, vendors and refreshments. Summer in the City was sponsored by Gainesville Health and Fitness and organized as a part of Gainesville150!, a yearlong celebration of the 150th anniversary of the city. Nicole Yucht, the project coordinator for Gainesville150!, said the organizers plan to hold a large event every three months during the celebration and that the next big event will be in early November. “Music and dancing brings people together,” Yucht said. “And so that’s what we really wanted to do.”
People gathered at High Dive on Saturday during the Original Gainesville Food Truck Rally presented by Glory Days. The event raised money to benefit the UF Mobile Outreach Clinic, which is dedicated to providing medical aid to underprivileged communities. The rally featured a variety of food trucks as well as live music inside the bar. During the event, customers could vote for their favorite food truck by donating to jars held by volunteers beside each vendor. At the end of the night, the food truck with the most won a $100 Publix gift card — this rally’s prize was taken home by Monsta Lobsta, a truck specializing in lobster rolls.
About 100 people gathered in front of Gainesville City Hall on Friday evening to protest the conditions in immigration detention centers. The protest, Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Detention Camps, was one of more than 500 around the world. It was organized by North Central Florida Indivisible and other local activist groups and featured several speakers who urged the crowd to help the undocumented community in Gainesville and call members of the U.S. Congress to demand the camps be closed down, including the center located in Homestead, Florida. The event also had local children recite poems that were left behind by children in Theresienstadt, a ghetto and concentration camp built by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
On Monday, protestors from Fight Toxic Prisons, the Legal Empowerment and Advocacy Hub, Gainesville Industrial Workers of the World and MAMA’s Club aimed to fundraise bail for dads to be released in time for Father's Day. On Wednesday, Bell finally came home.
The 352 Father’s Day and Juneteenth Bailout and Rally was held outside the Alachua County Jail on Monday. The event was hosted by Fight Toxic Prisons, the Legal Empowerment and Advocacy Hub, Gainesville Industrial Workers of the World and MAMA’s Club. The event aimed to raise money through a crowdfunding effort so fathers could be released on bail to be with their families after Father’s Day. $7,720 was raised out of a $20,000 crowdfunding goal on DonorBox. With this money, the $7,000 bail for Gerald Bell, who is imprisoned for drug-related charges, is planned to be posted today. Protesters held signs containing messages like “Abolish Slavery” and “Prisons Equal Slavery.” Alachua County Sheriff’s Officers prevented protesters from moving close to the jail and four protesters were detained after either passing a line of cones placed by the officers or attempting to remove these cones.
Does weather impact UF student fashion choices?
Alachua County Animal Services, Humane Society of North Central Florida north and south campuses and PetSmart hosted the 5th Annual North Florida Pet Adoption Days Saturday and Sunday. Hundreds of rescued dogs and cats were brought into these organizations with adoption fees waived. Margot DeConna, Humane Society of North Central Florida director of development, said the initial goal of the adoption event was to get 400 pets adopted. A total of 344 pets were adopted from the event community-wide. DeConna said the rain on Sunday may have been a factor that affected the original goal.
The Galleries at the Historic Thomas Center celebrated the opening of a new art exhibition entitled “A Walk in the Park” on Friday night. The show features local artists whose work aims to encourage the appreciation of local parks in the community. The gallery’s opening reception was part of May’s Artwalk Gainesville event. “A Walk in the Park” will be on display until Jan. 4, 2020. The exhibition was organized in collaboration with the citizens and city employees behind the yearlong “Gainesville 150!” celebration, which commemorates the 150th anniversary of the City of Gainesville’s incorporation.
The Memorial Day Ceremony 2019 was held at Forest Meadows Memorial Park East on Monday. The event featured a presentation of the colors by the Vietnam Veterans of America and the Milton Lewis Young Marines. Remarks were made by Mayor Lauren Poe and Congressman Ted Yoho, the United States Representative for Florida’s 3rd congressional district. Alachua County Gold Star Families, which are families of soldiers killed in action, were also honored. Additionally, on Northwest 8th Avenue, the Gainesville chapter of Veterans For Peace placed one tombstone for each U.S. service member who lost their life in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001 for the Memorial Mile 2019 event.
Gainesville currently has an ordinance that prohibits panhandling, but it is not enforceable due to free speech. The laws might change soon after a panhandler was struck and killed in April. Gainesville city commissioners have said the new ordinance won’t incriminate panhandlers but intends rather to limit where the activity is allowed in order to keep them safe and avoid another fatal accident. Some Gainesville residents, like William Irmen, a 54-year-old homeless man, rely on panhandling in these spots for consistent income.